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Fish slice

Fish slice

  • Place of origin:

    Seattle (made)

  • Date:

    1991 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Horner, Roger, born 1934 (designer and maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Sterling silver and handle of silver-copper mokumé gané

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the American Friends of the V&A through the generosity of Professor B. Seymour Rabinovitch

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The rudimentary geometric trowel shape with heavily bevelled edges, and basic rounded handle which lifts straight from the blade, complements the organic theme of the piece. The banality of a fish server has been elevated to a celebration of life itself, the handle end is engraved with the inscription "In the beginning". Spermatozoa wriggle in abstracted form from the handle down the blade. The Japanese technique of mokumé gané has been used to pattern the silver-copper handle with intricate lacquered design. These organisms spill in thematic concord onto the blade where the spermatozoa become pierced patterns. This bold piece is a unique interpretation of the design brief, alluding to the fundaments of creation in its simple form and repeated design.

Physical description

The heavy blade is of a severely geometric trowel shape with four straight sided lateral components, a flat front edge and heavily bevelled edges. It is pierced with a spermatozoa design. The rounded handle, which lifts from the blade without stem or bolster, is artfully constructed of silver, copper mokumé gané and worked so that by dimpling and filing, a matching blade design has been produced.

Place of Origin

Seattle (made)


1991 (made)


Horner, Roger, born 1934 (designer and maker)

Materials and Techniques

Sterling silver and handle of silver-copper mokumé gané

Marks and inscriptions

Bearing the inscription "In the beginning" on the handle end ,"for BSR" on the underside and the artist's name.


Length: 33 cm, Weight: 442 g

Object history note

Historical significance: A theme of swimming can be seen in Horner's work who believes this to be a fundamental aspect of creation, "We all begin by swimming". This piece was inspired by his thoughts on the beginnings of life. His design are contemporary and innovative.

Historical context note

Part of a collection of fish slices commissioned by Professor Rabinovitch from contemporary North American and British makers.

Descriptive line

Silver and mokumé gané, USA, Seattle, Washington, 1991, designed and made by Roger Horner

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Benton Setymour Rabinovitch and Helen Clifford, Contemporary Silver, commissioning, designing, collecting, London, Merrell 2000, pp. 126-7. ill. ISBN.1858941040

Labels and date

This collection of silver slices, all commissioned over a period of twenty years by Professor Benton Seymour Rabinovitch FRS, is proof of the skill and diversity of contemporary silversmiths. Each artist craftsman has responded to the familiar functional form of the slice in an individual way, producing an astonishingly diverse range of interpretations. Each piece becomes an enchanting, decorative work of art. Professor Rabinovitch established a close rapport with each artist, always encouraging a freedom of creative expression. The response of these silversmiths has been not only to be strikingly imaginative but also to honour him by giving him their best work.

This collection is testimony to the significant contribution that one individual can make to supporting the craft of silversmithing. After commissioning work from some of the most illustrious names in British and North American silversmithing, Professor Rabinovitch has very generously donated his entire collection to the Victoria and Albert Museum, through the American Friends of the V&A. [2005]


Silver; Copper; Mokumé gané


Piercing; Bevelling


Metalwork; Eating


Metalwork Collection

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